Leinie’s main line of beers is fairly mainstream, but I love it when they release something from their Big Eddy series. The Big Eddy Imperial IPA comes in at 9 percent ABV and 78 IBUs, is finely carbonated and goes down sweet & easy leaving behind a nice bite. Distinct fruity notes, like the grapefruit expected from the Amarillo, hides behind the rich sweet malt making this imperial IPA more balanced than most. (i.e. it won’t leave you scraping your tongue the next morning). Here’s is what they say:
Big Eddy IIPA fills the senses with five distinctive Pacific Northwest hops, which are added at each stage of the brewing process. Hops include Warrior, Cascade, Simcoe, Citra, and the extremely rare Amarillo. The beer boasts grapefruit, mandarin orange and mango notes, balanced by a hint of pine and a strong caramel, toffee sweetness, giving it a complex, multifaceted character.
So this is what it says on the label:
This imperial oatmeal stout is brewed with one of the world’s most expensive coffees. Made from droppings of weasel like Civet cats the fussy southeast Asian animals only eat the best and ripest coffee berries. Enzymes in their digestive system help to break down the bean. Workers collect the bean containing droppings for Civet or Weasel coffee. The exceedingly rare civet coffee has a strong taste and an even stronger aroma.
So obviously I bought it.
Maybe I made the mistake of looking up what a Civet cat looks like just before my first sip. The nose is sharp and smoky at the same time (the beer, not the cat), and this pitch black beer pours with a thin orange head. The first impression you get is that it is a smooth imperial stout until all of a sudden you are hit by strong hickory spice. It is a sharp flavor that lasts with thick viscosity.
In the end, I didn’t really enjoy it, and didn’t even finish my pint (which has happened maybe twice in my life). The smokey, odd bitterness just took away too much of the beer and left me with a thick, sticky aftertaste I needed to wash down with—well, a different beer. I will say my buddy Chad drank the rest, saying it was okay because it was so different. If you’re looking for something different, and I mean different, this certainly is it.
Big Eddy is back, but this was my first experience with it. Appropriately named, Big Eddy is a BIG beer. The name Big Eddy comes from the spring that has fed Leinenkugel since 1867. First released in 2007, this beer is only going to be available for a limited time and if you like imperial stouts you’re going to want to go find some now.
I think the perfect time to enjoy an imperial stout like this is on a cold, quiet, winter evening sitting by the fireside. I loved how this beer poured with a dark tan, thick head. The Leinenkugel beers I have had have been consistently quality beers although also simple in profile, but not this one. This imperial stout was dark and very complex. There were many layers of malt from rich and sweet to the rich coffee and mocha flavors. The roasted malts and hops balanced the beer while the alcohol heat that followed gave each sip a finishing spark.
I thoroughly enjoyed this beer, especially watching the lacing on the glass as I drank it. Big Eddy Imperial Stout is 9.5% ABV and this year it will have wider distribution than it had in the past. Our readers in the Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota and New Jersey, as well as Atlanta and Phoenix markets should look for it. Leinenkugel has also released in the past for a limited time Big Eddy’s IPA – I can’t wait for it to come around again!
Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout is brewed with 11 different malts including Munich, Carmel, Chocolate, classic Pale and Pale Ale, providing a rich, dry character, perfectly balancing Big Eddy’s hoppy assertiveness. Warrior, Summit and Glacier hops create a bold tribute to the characteristic intensity of the flavor. The beer is reminiscent of the 18th century Russian Imperial Stout style that contained extra malts and hops to act as preservatives during long voyages from England to Russia, where it was served in the royal court.
We are not the harbingers of truth as some may suggest but it may indeed be argued that our brewing philosophy is tantamount to a dessert with a bellicose past. How, you may ask, would a brewery determine a likeness to hard-coated custard? Our response is simple; it’s all in the power of history, and of course, the extra finesse needed to top off a contentious treat with definition.
By comprehending the labyrinthine movement of time, one would not think it strange to trace the errant path of an ordinary object such as a cream dessert only to discover that it has been the cause of cultural disputes since the middle ages. The British founders of burnt cream and from Spain, crema catalana, both stand by their creative originality and we respect that, but it was the French Crème Brûlée, amid the strife of contention, that survived to represent our deliciously creamy brew.
Opaque black beer with medium brown head. Vanilla dominates the aroma. It similarly owns the flavor, with a bit of a stout backbone and a little alcohol heat. This is a beer to share with friends as a dessert.
Ron says: Huge vanilla aroma. Huge. A little of the alcohol smell but none of the burn. A couple of four-ounce glasses and a brunette are a perfect end to an evening.
Hop Talk Advisory Panel says: An enjoyable stout with some complex flavors, though the vanilla definitely stands out. While not unpleasant, the higher alcohol content is not unnoticed.
Southern Tier Brewing – The Beers
Sometimes I just have to try a beer based on the packaging. Morimoto Imperial Pilsner from Rogue is onesuch. It comes in a lovely, resealable ceramic bottle. Add to that my eldest daughter is really getting into all things Japanese and urged me to buy it.
It also turns out to have been on Ron’s Wish List last year.
I actually bought this several weeks ago. I just haven’t had a good opportunity to have 750ml of a 8.8% ABV beer.
From Rogue’s website:
Food Pairing: Seafood, Poultry
Golden in color with a dry hop floral aroma and intense hop bitterness supported by a big malty backbone which culminates into a hedonistic mouthful.
100% French Pilsner. 100% Sterling. Czech Pils Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.
I like the idea of a “hedonistic mouthful”.
Light amber in color with a cream colored head. Seems a bit hazy. Lots and lots of spicy hoppiness in the aroma. Body is surprisingly full, and there’s plenty more spice in the flavor. It’s oddly smooth with a bite at the same time. Interesting.
Hopheads would love this.
It has quite a kick. If you drink the whole 1 pint 10 fluid ounces yourself, plan on not going anywhere.
Pretty good, though. I rather liked it.